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Women

Being an American woman is complicated enough, but being a Chinese woman is a science — one that I am continuing to learn during my year of teaching in China. (Men, I stand by my theory; you do have it easy!) There are many things that play into being a Chinese woman, such as skin care, make-up, clothes, and the food they eat. They pay special attention to their beauty, from the inside to the outside. On a recent Saturday afternoon, after a one-hour yoga class with my friend Rosie, she gave me a lesson.

DESCRIBE THE IMAGE As I mentioned in a previous article, the Chinese know what each food does for your body. �Every smart woman knows that she must eat well to be beautiful,� says Rosie. A Chinese woman eats the right foods not only to keep fit, but also to keep her skin beautiful and her body cleansed. According to Rosie, many Chinese women eat chicken skin (especially the feet, which are considered a delicacy) because it is good for their skin. We skipped over the chicken skin for today and she taught me how to make a bean soup for ladies. The ingredients, although simple, were quite delicious — red beans, white beans, small flower bulbs, dates, red sugar, and Chinese medicine for the �woman�s holiday.� The soup was packed with protein and fiber, yet was delicate because it was a bit sweet.

Rosie has a confident, feminine appearance. She stands very tall and straight and always dresses in style. She often corrects my stance by saying �beautiful lady� and pulling my shoulders back. She also encourages me to add a bit of glam to my wardrobe with beads or sequins, in colors that complement my Midwest, white skin. Chinese styles change all of the time and the shopping is incredible. I find it overwhelming, but Chinese women seem to have no problem throwing together the latest combos. On this particular day Rosie dressed me for a birthday party we would attend together. She intertwined a bit of Chinese retro and traditional in my outfit. I wore black leather pants and boots with a traditional red silk top. I think her friends were quite impressed that I pulled off the red silk.

DESCRIBE THE IMAGE I work out at a very nice gym here in the heart of Shenzhen; a gym for ladies, I might add. Here I do a number of classes (Yoga, Body Pump, Body Balance, and Ballet) and take close notes of their skin care. I�ll talk about the classes in a future article; for now, we�ll just say that I am learning grace. The skin care is what I will concentrate on.

Chinese women have a wonderful glow to their skin, particularly their face. Sharon, one of Rosie�s friends, told me that it is important to steam once a week. This helps to excrete the toxins from your skin. Afterward, they apply a toning lotion, face and body moisturizer, and eye cream. The women tell me that moisture is important, and they are often concerned that my face looks a little dry (they also tell me to eat less and sleep more). Then they apply their make-up. The women here don�t wear a lot of make-up, but they do accent their best features. They are careful not to weigh down their face and, as a result, they look very glamorous.

OK, so these examples are just the tip of the iceberg, but it�s what I�ve got so far�just call me beauty queen! That�s the plan anyway, ha ha. When I return, I�ll be glad to give personal lessons. And just wait till I teach you swimmers Body Balance and Yoga�ouch, good stuff!